Evil Chinese cult money in Qingdao

Anyone else received this stuff? Chinese paper notes stamped with anti-Party and pro-“evil cult” messages?

I’d translate the messages for you — because they are interesting — but this particular group is officially designated an “evil cult” and is still a sensitive topic as far as I know. Plus the anti-Party bits are definitely taboo.

More stuff about this particular “evil cult”:

Stuff about another locally active Chinese “evil cult”:

7 thoughts on “Evil Chinese cult money in Qingdao”

  1. Clearly the “evil cult” references are meant as a form of irony, but in any case, I recommend those not entirely familiar with the persecution of this PEACEFUL group to read the Wikipedia article and related material. Yes, it’s ha ha funny for us because it’s so absurd, but a lot of innocent Chinese people have been killed in this campaign – and the cult label really helped. Words, when wielded by a dictatorship, can be very powerful.

    [Edited out sensitive word, added link. – Joel]

  2. I just wrote “evil cult” (in scare quotes) because that’s their official designation in China. It’s not intended as a comment from me on their beliefs or practices. Their beliefs aren’t the point here.

    I agree with what your saying, and I’d hope most people would: no matter how wacko a group’s belief content is, it doesn’t justify kidnapping grandmas and beating them to death.

    As mentioned in the related posts, anyone who wants to read up on what happened to this group can also check out chapter three of Ian Johnson’s Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China.

    1. I see your point. I don’t want to give you a hard time. I also realised that you are using euphemisms rather than the actual name of the group because you don’t want your website blocked in China. I checked a few GFW sites and it indeed is not blocked – best to keep it that way.

      I would just submit, however, that using the “evil cult” label may be worth reconsidering, given the context here. The label is not descriptive, it is not a scholarly label, it is not an analytically useful term in any way – it’s purely a propaganda term created to insight hatred and distrust, and to enable the authorities to carry out a violent persecution. That it is the Party’s term for the group should not determine how we refer to it. You obviously do not actually believe that the group is an evil cult – but by using the term, it still reinforces the propaganda. Consider a blog in which you referred to Jewish people as “parasites,” and justified it by saying “But that was the official Nazi label for them!” Even if you lived in Germany at the time, would that be acceptable? Even if you didn’t believe it, you would still be participating in the propaganda that has a clear purpose: the persecution and violent destruction of that community. And make no mistake that that is what communist authorities have attempted to do to these people for the last 14 years.

      Their beliefs are another matter – but suffice to say that they are obviously purely peaceful, and moreover were entirely mainstream in China in the 1990s – according to the govt’s own numbers there were 70 million practitioners, and the practice was supported by the government as a way to reduce health care costs. The first place the practice was taught outside China was in the Chinese Embassy in Paris, for goodness sake. The beliefs of the practice did not change in the intervening period, but the politics did. It’s a complex history that you can and have read about elsewhere. Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the terminology.

      1. Went and re-read the post after reading your comment. Thanks for thoughtfully voicing your concern without being a jerk (increasingly rare on the internet). I actually share your concern about how groups of people are labeled — I self-identify with a group that is routinely misrepresented negatively in the mainstream media. This has personal implications for me: I have to deal with the effects of that in relationship with all kinds of people: coworkers, even relatives, whose views are formed primarily through entertainment and news media.

        But I still don’t recant my usage of “evil cult” in these posts. Referring to someone by a particular pejorative label, and referring to the fact that the authorities refer to them by that label are different, esp. when that label is crucial to understanding the situation. In this case, as you know, when the central authorities officially designated them an “evil cult” it basically gave local authorities no-holds-barred permission to snuff them out, with horrific results. That particular label has very concrete effects in China, so it’s legitimately notable.

        People can deliberately smear a group without ‘technically’ smearing them, without technically saying anything bad about them… you just finesse the rhetoric. Or you just mention their name is close proximity to negatives enough times. I could use this nuance as an excuse to, in effect, deliberately create negative impressions of them. But I think anyone with half-decent reading comprehension can see that’s not what I’m doing, and I don’t take responsibility for people who read this blog but can’t read.

        And if I felt free to use their name then I would — it’d be easier, too. I’m sort of stuck with “evil cult.” Would’ve used scare quotes in the title as well, except I inserted “Chinese”. Side note – if you read Orwell’s 1984 he gets into the philosophical underpinnings in which the Party determines/creates reality by controlling the language and the historical record. interesting to see that sort of play out in China:

        1. We can agree to (civilly — important!) disagree. Mitigating your position, in my humble view, is your use of scare quotes. I agree that few will fail to understand the implied intent behind their deployment. And yes, I of course agree with you that it is remarkably Orwellian. Added to the irony is how many Western governments/Important People say that the PRC state is post-communist and post-ideological. On some things, sure. But one only need lift up the rug and take a look at this writhing mess of irrational, nasty vituperation, and it feels like a miniaturized, contained version of the late 1960s all over again.

  3. Hahaha! I had a 5rmb note like that and spent it. Every local i showed laughed. I was trying to figure out if it was real.

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